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'Notorious for being described as UFOs': Viral video captures a spectacular sight over Tempe

A TikTok video of a strange cloud over Tempe has gone viral with several people comparing it to the new Jordan Peele film, "Nope."

TEMPE, Ariz — Are the aliens finally here, or is Arizona weather just making it look like that? Tempe certainly has that question up in the air after a video on TikTok went viral, showing what looks like a UFO floating over the city.

In the video, a large grey disk hangs dramatically against puffy white clouds, looking more than a little menacing.

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It was certainly enough of a sight to prompt TikTok user @neshahiggins to film the cloud from a car window near Priest Drive.

An instant success on the app, her video has gotten thousands of likes and hundreds of comments. Some welcoming the alien overlords, some less enthused.

Warning: Curse words used in the embedded video below may be offensive to some viewers.


Here is a longer video #ufo #area51 #ufosky

♬ original sound - Nesha Higgins

"A cloud? Lol" one user said.

Others compared the phenomenon to the upcoming Jordan Peele film, "Nope".

That comparison got enough traction that the director himself even weighed in on what Tempe was seeing.

But as much as we love alien invasion flicks, we wanted to figure out what was really going on here. What caused the extraterrestrial-looking cloud?

12News meteorologist Krystle Henderson isn't putting her money on little green men. Rather, it's most likely what's called a lenticular cloud.

RELATED: Fang-tastic! Bats captured on Phoenix weather radar

"Those clouds are notorious for being described as UFOs," Krystle said. "They have a smooth, oval flying-saucer-shaped look. They can be singular or stacked like pancakes. If you google lenticular clouds you’ll see other photos and see what I mean."

While they're not the most common cloud formations in the world, Arizona has conditions that are perfect for helping them form.

According to weather.gov, these clouds form when "relatively stable, fast-moving air is forced up and over a topographic barrier."

That means we get to see them even in the summer as our Monsoon weather rolls through.

But that doesn't mean aliens aren't still out there somewhere. Check out our coverage on the James Webb telescope for a deeper look at the universe!

RELATED: NASA's new telescope shows star death, dancing galaxies

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